Best known for Memory Lane and Lonesome and Sorry. He was co-winner of the first Academy Award for Best Song.
He used to be a vaudeville performer. His first song, Down in Dear Old New Orleans was published in 1912. He also produced the 1913 Broadway show The Honeymoon Express starring Al Jolson.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
He married actress Francine Larrimore, but they later divorced.
He and collaborator Herb Magidson were given the first Academy Award for Best Song in 1934 for The Continental. It was featured in the movie The Gay Divorcee and was sung by Ginger Rogers.